After three straight trips to the OSAA 1A State Championships in Baker, Ore. from 2015-2017, the Lady Warriors of North Douglas High School are one win away from ending a two-year absence from the tournament.
Last weekend, North Douglas concluded their regular season and district tournament games, finishing the year a perfect 13-0 against league opponents, 23-3 overall and a number-six spot in the 1A rankings. Despite the overwhelming success of their season thus far, however, the team and coaching staff are far from satisfied.
“We’ve said from day one that that’s our goal this year, to be at Baker,” said head coach Jody Cyr. “Truthfully, I wouldn’t be happy with anything else.”
After joining the 1A Skyline league in the 2014-15 season, the Warriors went on an impressive run of playoff appearances. They won the third place game in Baker in 2015, followed it up with a loss in the championship game in 2016 and made a third consecutive trip east in 2017.
With back-to-back seasons of failing to make it back in 2018 and 2019, this year’s team will look to fulfill the sometimes lofty expectations their past success has created. This is a program that is unsatisfied by regular season success.
“We talked about it in the locker room after we won league, talked about it after we won districts,” Cyr said. “We were like, ‘This is neat, but this is just a step on the journey of the goal we had. End of story. We’re going back to work.’”
The Warriors wrapped up regular season league games on Feb. 14 before heading to Sutherlin last weekend for the Skyline District playoffs. They were given a run for their money by both Days Creek and an Elkton team that is also looking to earn a spot in the state tournament. North Douglas came away with two wins, a district title and plenty to work on as they await their first playoff opponent.
“Everyone in the world is looking for tape on you right now,” Cyr said. “So, you’d be kind of a fool to keep running the same stuff you’ve run all year.”
Nonetheless, Cyr is confident in his team of fierce competitors and experienced upperclassmen. At this point in the season, all remaining teams are talented and the margins between a first round exit and a state championship can be razor thin.
“I think our kids have a very good understanding of what level they need to be at right now,” Cyr said. “We’ve played three very quality [non-league] teams. I think we’re right on that edge of being very dangerous on any given night. I call them ‘any-given-night teams’. You could beat them any given night and you could lose to them any given night and, at this point, there are no easy games.”
The Warriors are set to host a round of 16 playoff game in the North Douglas gym on Friday, Feb. 28 though the start time is still yet to be determined. To check playoff scores, standings and the OSAA 1A playoff bracket, visit http://www.osaa.org/activities/gbx/brackets.